The Federal Reserve’s highly-anticipated report on cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) – initially slated to come out last September – will be released “within weeks,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
Powell, who was nominated for a second term as Fed chair by President Joe Biden, was asked about the timing of the report by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) during his January 11 confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee.
“We didn’t get it to quite where we needed to get it,” Powell explained of the report’s delays. “But it’s effectively there now, it’s within weeks [that] we will be publishing it.”
Powell’s testimony to the Banking Committee echoes similar remarks he made at a Senate hearing in November 2021, when he promised the release of the report in “coming weeks.” Two months earlier, he said it was coming “soon.” And last July, he promised the report would be published by September.
The report is expected to focus on CBDCs – something the Fed is actively researching and a popular topic of discussion at Congressional hearings where Powell is called as a witness.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Powell was asked by Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) whether, if the Fed was given authorization from Congress to pursue a CBDC, if that would mean that a CBDC could not coexist with “well-regulated, privately-issued stablecoins.”
“No, not at all,” Powell responded.
Toomey also cast doubt on the Fed’s authority to act as a retail bank for Americans.
“It seems to me that there is absolutely nothing in the history, the experience, the expertise, the capabilities of the Fed that lends the Fed to being a retail bank. Is that a fair observation?” Toomey asked.
“I would say yes.”